Keep yourselves from idols.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
(1 John 5:21)
I have lost count of the number of times I have read “I must have a thermomix”, “I am so jealous”, I can’t live without mine”, “I must persuade my husband to buy me one”. I sat in the car on Friday listening to a dear friend of mine raving about the thermomix and how she rushed home after a demonstration and tell her husband “she had to have one”. When does a simple item for the kitchen become something we “must have” or “couldn’t live without” and try and persuade everyone else to have one. When does one slip into idolising something? It appears it happens quickly and often without us even realising it. We are so vulnerable to persuasion.
For this reason we must always be on guard and God has give us a very direct instruction in regards to idolatry — FLEE.
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14)
The definition of idolatry, according to Webster, is “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.” An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God. The most prevalent form of idolatry in Bible times was the worship of images that were thought to embody the various pagan deities.
Whilst we no longer worship deities such as those found in places like India, it doesn't mean we don't worship idols. Its just that modern day idols look a little different but there are many of them lurking — have you ever consider that a television can be an idol. So can sport, ones car, house, certain possessions (including our clothes and even that thermomix), a hobby, a person, a political party, a cause, a job - anything can become an idol that takes us away from God. Including our blogs. However it can also include matters of the heart —pride, self-centeredness, greed, gluttony, a love for possessions and ultimately rebellion against God.
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
Idolatry was a problem for the Israelites and its still a problem for us today. Not much has changed, making God's Word still as relevant as ever, perhaps even more relevant as we are surrounded by so many idols that can take us quickly, quietly and without warning from God.
In this modern age we worship at the alter of materialism and we are doing it all the time, even without knowing. We are building bigger and bigger homes which we fill with all the things we believe we can't live without. We live off credit as we can't pay for all that we want on the fortnightly salary and we aren't willing to save. We must have things NOW and we believe our lives wouldn't be complete without them. We rush out to the buy the latest even if what we have still works, we envy others who have things we desire, we buy far too many clothes even when our wardrobes are full. We haven't found the stop button.
You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20:3-6)
Did you know that your home can become your idol, just in the same way as a career can for a working woman — home all day, dedicating your time and energy into making it perfect and before long you have become obsessed with it. It becomes the centre of your universe and it is all you think about. Your children can also become idols, you spend so much time caring for them, raising them, wanting them to be perfect in every way and before long they become your central focus of your life and God quietly slips behind in importances. God must be number one in our minds and come before children, our husbands, our homes, our belongings, our jobs etc.. Could you walk away from all of this for God, most of us couldn't.
Their land is also full of idols; They worship the work of their own hands,That which their own fingers have made. (Isaiah 2:8)
For those who work, including your husbands — watch the number of hours they work, many people are obsessed with working long hours, including evenings and weekends. They can't turn off their phone or their laptop, they might be needed — they see themselves as critical. We are seeing a growing number of women driven by promotion and losing the ability to balance their lives. None of this is done for the glory of God, it is all done for man — for self. Could be greed, self importances, vanity, pride. Whatever the reason, it is wrong.
Other idols can include the environment — its perfectly ok to do "your bit" to keep the environment clean, but don't obsess and make it your new god. Science is amazing, but always remember, it isn't God and many scientists are playing God. Whilst being interested in politics is fine, perhaps joining a party and becoming immerse in it isn't wise. Loosing weight, going to the gym are all healthy options — but so many go over board and spend huge amounts of time, energy and money and it becomes their new idol. Remember, it will all be destroyed one day and nothing of this earth will matter. This is why focusing on God is SO important as He is the only one that matters in the end.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10-13)
So what should we do, be careful. Thing twice before doing something. Its perfectly fine to buy that thermomix if you can afford it, but don't obese about it, don't try and persuade others as they may not be able to afford one. Perhaps even if you can afford one, do you really need it, are you so short of time? Think twice when starting a new hobby, will you get carried away and will it take time away from God, bible study, helping others, being your husbands helpmate. Blogging for example is a perfect way of sharing and spreading God's word, but it is also a trap that can take up hours of your time. Find the balance and always ask yourself "will its entrap me". Satan uses idols to trap our focus on ourselves and not on Him and he is very good at doing this.
Remember, there is only ONE God, no others and whatever we do for our ONE God:
do all to the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31)